I first came across the term”Recovery Run” when I was training for my first marathon and I remember thinking when I saw it that I really needed an easy day. Training was getting tough, the runs getting longer and I was starting to really not enjoy running. The plan I was doing came with instructions for each day; how far, how fast, etc. but I only glanced at the entry after I saw “Recovery Run, 5k slow and easy”. This is my type of run, slow and easy, I can do that. Of course I later read the rest of the instructions when I was struggling to climb the stairs.
“Recovery Run, 5k slow and easy, after the long run yesterday you’ll be running on tired fatigued muscles. This will hurt”
Back then I was young and naive, I thought I knew it all, I could run 5k slow and easy without breaking a sweat. Oh how wrong I was. After 20k the day before, the longest run up to that date, I set off with enthusiasm and, to be honest, completely unaware of what was to come. 1k in and I thought I was dying, muscles were already screaming, I could hardly catch a breath and I was sweating like a fat girl in a cake shop. I gave up that day and had to walk home after less than 2km.
Jump forward 2 years to today and not much has changed. I did run 22km yesterday and today was a recovery run. Only 6km but knowing that this time I could run the whole distance even with legs screaming to stop didn’t make it any easier.
It’s all about training on pre-fatigued muscles and training this way allows shorter runs but at a higher fitness benefit. Or something like that. All I know is I hurt and feel really tired. Excuse me I must go lie down.